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Senators push for solarization of Guam streets

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Taking a cue from the sun-powered streetlights in the tourist district of Tumon, Guam senators are pushing the government to optimize the use of renewable energy on island.

The Guam Visitors Bureau has installed 400 street and sidewalk solar lights along Pale San Vitores Road. The project includes three-year maintenance of the solar panels to ensure the fixtures are properly operating, absorbing solar energy to light up the night sky.

"By their action, GVB is setting a brilliant example for the government to follow in other areas of our island, especially on roads that have sidewalks or no streetlights at all," Sen. Joe San Agustin said.

“I have been a proponent of using solar energy in our government, having introduced bills that would convert our public schools into using solar energy, and a golf course into a solar farm to assist in reaching Guam’s goal of being fossil-fuel free by 2045," he added.

The government of Guam pays the Guam Power Authority an average of $5 million to light up all streetlights throughout the island. 

“We must take the work of GVB and use it as a stepping stone into converting the island’s streetlights into solar streetlights. Investing the $5 million we spent on regular lighting in solar lighting will save us millions of dollars in the end," San Agustin said.

Sen, William Parkinson wrote to the Department of Energy endorsing GPA's grant application for the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships or GRIP program.

Parkinson, chair of the power and energy committee, expressed support for GPA and Luminosity Foundation’s joint proposal to introduce 30MW of low-income community solar gardens across Guam.

The initiative, known as the Solar Virtual Power Plant Projects, seeks to alleviate the high energy costs burdening the island's residents, particularly those in low-income brackets, by establishing sustainable utility-scale solar projects, funded through federal programs.


A community solar garden is a pioneering approach to renewable energy, enabling individuals, businesses, and communities to access solar power without having to install solar panels on their properties, Parkinson said.

This involves a large-scale solar panel installation, or "garden," designed to be accessible and inclusive, breaking down barriers such as lack of suitable rooftop space, upfront investment costs, or living in rented accommodations.

By pooling resources and sharing the benefits of a single, large solar project, Parkinson said the community can enjoy solar power's economic and environmental advantages without the complexities and expenses of individual installations.

"This could lead to permanent power credits in residential power bills as the federal program allows," he added.

GRIP focuses on developing a state-of-the-art grid resilience solution featuring a grid-forming-capable static synchronous compensator and a battery energy storage system.

In partnership with GE Vernova, this initiative promises to enhance the integration of renewable energy into Guam’s grid, supporting the island’s ambitious goals of achieving 50 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040. 


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